Police in the western Indian state of Maharashtra recently arrested four men for allegedly “group raping” a Bengal monitor lizard, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported on Thursday, noting that A Maharashtra Forestry Department official confirmed the group’s arrest on Wednesday.
The incident is said to have taken place inside Maharashtra’s Sahyadri Tiger Reserve and “came to light days after the four defendants were convicted of illegally entering Chandoli National Park, which is part of the reserve. , one of them carrying a gun for hunting,” a spokesman for Maharashtra’s forest department told reporters on April 13.
Local police initially arrested the four men on March 31 for illegally entering the state forest when their alleged crime of bestiality was discovered.
“During the investigation, the forest officers discovered that the defendant had allegedly raped a Bengal monitor lizard. Their act was also recorded on the mobile phone of one of the defendants,” an anonymous police official said. Maharashtra forest at PTI on April 13.
“We have recovered all related evidence from the defendants and they were initially granted custody by the Forest Department, but are now out on bail,” the official added.
“The four defendants were arrested under various sections of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972,” Nanasaheb Ladkat, field manager of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve, told reporters on April 13.
India today The magazine on April 14 described Maharashtra forestry officials as “bewildered” by the “heinous crime” and said they will “take up the matter with the Indian Criminal Court” to determine the appropriate charges against the suspects.
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code states that “anyone who willfully has sexual intercourse with an animal” shall be punished with life imprisonment or imprisonment for a term of up to ten years , and shall also be liable to a fine.”
The Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 designates the Bengal monitor lizard as a “reserved” or protected species. The reptile can grow “up to five and a half feet long and weigh nearly 16 pounds,” according to the NextShark news site.
If the suspects are found guilty of injuring a Bengal monitor lizard under Indian wildlife law, they ‘could be charged with up to seven years’ imprisonment’ according to India today.
PTI identified the men charged on April 14 as “Sandeep Tukaram Pawar, Mangesh Kamtekar, Akshay Kamtekar and Ramesh Ghag.”